Do young cattle perform better on low or medium dry matter types of fodder beet? A trial has just been completed to answer this question.
On a farm near Wairoa, half a paddock was sown to a low dry matter fodder beet/mangel (Brigadier), and the other half into three areas of the medium dry matter cultivars Kyros and Bangor, and a low dry matter hybrid cultivar (Feldherr).
A large mob of rising one-year Angus steers were split evenly on body weight into two mobs of 147 animals, with one mob grazing the Brigadier and the other grazing the combination of three cultivars. Grazing commenced on 19 April and final weights recorded on 30 August when the Brigadier half had been grazed out.
Growth of the cattle was lower than expected due to the extremely wet weather throughout the trial period.
At the end of winter, the cattle had the same weight (226 vs. 228 kg LW). This shows that the type or cultivar of fodder beet or mangel does not affect stock performance. This is also consistent with a similar trial that compared the growth of R2 cattle (read more here).
In this Wairoa trial, the only difference between the cultivars was that some had higher yield than others. The advantage in yield of the Kyros/Feldherr/Bangor meant that the animals were able to carry on grazing for another 20 days through September, making them more profitable options for farmers.
Acknowledgements; Dave Martin, Martin Pastoral Ltd. Wayne Hurunui of the Tru-Test Group who loaned the EID and weigh equipment for the weight recording.